Ýr Jóhannsdóttir is an Icelandic textile designer and artist whose knitted wearable art pieces mix urgent environmental topics with innovative and playful mending techniques. Her work is humorous with serious undertones: she tackles the gargantuan overproduction of industrially-made clothing through her unique mending style, often covering old sweaters with cartoonishly-knit eyes, tongues, and hands.
It all began in grade school, where she learned to knit at 9 years old. From this early seed, Ýr went on to study textile design at Reykjavík School of Visual Arts and got her BA in textile design from Glasgow School of Art in 2017. Ýr, who works under the moniker Yrurari, has developed into a multifaceted artist: she was an esteemed WIP resident at the Textile Arts Center in New York; her work can be found in collections such as the Museum of International Folk Art in New Mexico; and her knitwear has been commissioned by the likes of Erykah Badu.
Always inspiring playful ways to address serious topics, Ýr created the project ‘Sweater Sauce’, gathering old, soiled sweaters from the Red Cross, many of which were discarded after culinary mishaps made by hot dogs–one of Iceland’s most beloved snacks. She covered these condiment stains with squiggly red lines, mouths, and hands. Ýr works with recycled sweaters and is selective to only accept garments made with natural fibres. If she were to accept the thousands of sweaters she receives, her studio would be filled with ‘piles of clothes looking like rotten fruit,’ she laughs...
Excerpt from the latest issue of Selvedge, Issue 104 Keeping Warm, written by Berea Antaki.
Find out how to read the rest of the article here: